The Government Is Launching A Consultation On Food Allergen Labelling Laws The UK government has launched a 3 month consultation to review the laws surrounding allergy information on ‘made in store’ food. The consultation has been brought into the limelight following the death of a 16 year old girl, Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who suffered an allergic reaction to a shop-bought sandwich last year.
The FSA have asked individuals to give their thoughts and ideas to make up part of the consultation’s summary. These will be analysed and put forward as part of the discussion to come to a decision with the new laws.
As per the new laws, food outlets selling pre-packaged food directly for sale need to follow new rules to protect the health of two million food allergy sufferers across the UK.
Natasha’s parents have campaigned for all ingredients to be included on food labels, and it appears that this is one of the four options presented in the government’s consultation.
The proposed reforms cover labelling requirements for foods that are packed on the same premises from which they are sold. For example, a packaged sandwich or salad made by staff earlier in the day and is then placed on a shelf for purchase.
Under current regulations, there is no obligation for businesses to label allergens on foods prepared on the same premises as they are being sold. Natasha’s parents have been calling for a new so-called “Natasha’s Law” that will make it a legal requirement for all pre-packaged food to clearly show allergens.
Food businesses and allergy sufferers are being invited to have their say on the four options put forward by the government. These options are:
Mandating full ingredient list labelling Mandating allergen-only labelling on food packaging Mandating ‘ask the staff’ labels on all products, with supporting information for consumers available in writing Promoting best practice around communicating allergen information to consumers
ELAS Food Safety Director, Fiona Sinclair, illustrates the hard work that the majority of food businesses have undergone to help allergy sufferers:
“On one hand it is the case that the food industry overall provides more allergen information and has better controls in place than ever before. With the introduction of the Food Information for Consumers Regulations in 2014, many businesses have now got robust procedures in place to comply with the law and keep customers with allergies safe. Asking for allergen information, if it is not provided up front is a must, as well as gauging how the staff respond. Don’t be afraid to ask them what precautions they will take with your meal. You’re much more likely to get a clear and forthcoming answer from a premises with safe and clear allergen procedures, well trained staff and effective management in place.”
To have your say in the allergen consultation